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Reading your employment contract might be the last thing on your mind after that long-awaited phone call or email. But, sad as it is you need to stop your victory dance and keep your cool because there is one step left for you to do before sealing the deal.
Reading through the contract is an essential step. You should have a clear picture of what you’re getting into. Here are some things you should look into before you jot down your signature.
- Job title and description. Knowing the scope of your employment is important because it describes the role and duties the employer can ask you to do. This is reflected in the job title and description.
- Salary. The first thing to do when checking this section is to make sure that the salary included is the one you negotiated. You should know how and when you will be paid.
- Cause of termination. The reasons the employer can give if they want to terminate the contract are reflected in terms of termination. Read this section carefully and ask for clarification if you don’t understand the legal jargon. The terms of termination need to be clear. Otherwise, you might end up agreeing to your termination at any time, without notice and worse, without any reason. This is termed ‘without cause’.
- Start/end date and notice period. The start and end date needs to be clearly stated. Having a stipulated notice period is important because it gives both parties some time to prepare their next step. This period might be anywhere between one week and three months, and in many cases depends on the length of your employment.
- Holidays and sick leave. The points that should be clearly stated about holidays are: How many days of vacation you are entitled to.
When does the holiday year start.
Whether you can take holidays at certain busy times of the year, like Christmas.
Whether you can carry any days over to the next year.
- Working hours. Check whether you need to work the weekends or in the evenings and if so how will you be paid for this. In some cases instead of being paid for overtime, these hours can be converted into days off or holidays commonly called “time-in-lieu”. You need to be clear on company policy and be prepared to negotiate. A good work-life balance is a health requirement in the long run and boundaries need to be set. But again, the working culture is different for every country and company, so be sure to know in advance what you’re getting into.